Brandon Milholland is heading home.
Twenty-one years after graduating from Central High School, Milholland is returning to the school to assume the role of head football coach, replacing Shawn Marsh, who left to take the same role at Eaglecrest last month.
"The time was right," Milholland said. "I'm excited for a new challenge in life."
New challenge, old setting.
As a player, Milholland found success at Central, becoming an all-state quarterback before continuing his career at Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University).
After his playing days, he began his coaching and teaching career at Central.
In 2010, Milholland was hired as the head coach at Cedaredge, where he roamed the sidelines for the next nine seasons. In his third season, the Bruins overcame a season-opening loss to win their next 11 games — including ran 18-16 victory over Buena Vista in the Class 1A state title game.
Milholland went 53-39 at Cedaredge, but he ultimately decided it was time to return to his alma mater.
"Central is where I went to school," Milholland said. "I will have the ability to help more kids. Head coaching positions don't come around all the time."
The 38-year-old isn't stepping into a rebuilding situation at Central. He inherits a talented squad that went 7-3 last year in the regular season and earned a Class 4A playoff berth before falling to Fruita Monument 31-14 in the first round.
However, the Warriors will have to replace several key players from last season, including quarterback Max Marsh (who accounted for 24 touchdowns in 2018), running back Anthony Zubiate (who ran for 1,031 yards and 13 scores) and the team's two leading tacklers in Tanner Hickey (114) and Shaun Stepisnik (101).
Milholland isn't quite sure yet what the answer is to replace those key players, but he'll begin figuring it out come spring workouts, when he truly gets to step into the role and start to go to work.
"Obviously, I'll get to know them this spring," Milholland said. "I saw some great talent from them when I watched them play against Fruita in the playoffs."